REVIEW: Sweeney Todd at Riverhead Theatre

Sweeney todd
Sweeney todd

Blood, gore and suspense this is what we all have come to expect from the well known story of the demon barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd. But Louth Playgoers adaptation of the writer C G Bond play brings out an ironic humour too which adds to infamous story.

Brian Cliffe has managed to direct a bitter sweet love story that has brought forth some very convincing, animated and emotional performances from his cast.

With some exceptional cameo roles such as Terri Salven as the beggar woman, an understated role played with such conviction, John Hallam as the gentleman wrestler and Stuart Spendlow as Alfredo Pirelli, one of his many parts and accents.

Certain scene stealers are the inmates of the asylum, Becky Kettle you were born for the part of a mad woman.

Young Mr Spendlow is the first victim of Sweeney Todd played by Jeremy Smith and even though it is a murder scene, the disposal of the body will have you in stitches.

There are many comical moments thoughout the play and most conveyed by Vicki Head the buxom Mrs Lovett. Vicki brings a blatant charm to Mrs Lovett that will have you eating out of her hand.

Together Jeremy Smith and Vicki Head bring an unforgettable hilarious joining of the two villainous main characters in a deadly love triangle which includes Sweeney’s cut throat razors.

Brandon Hunt plays Tobias Ragg, the unfortunate young man who gets embroiled into their affairs, and I take my hat off to this very talented 16-year-old actor, his performance was outstanding.

In amongst the blood and pies comes the sugary sweet love affair of Johanna and Anthony (Lucy Sherre Cooper and Philip Marshall) but even this has its dark side as Johanna’s ruthless keeper Judge Turpin, has despicable plans to keep them apart.

The judge is played very convincingly by Oliver Cookson, his characterisation compels you to hate and despise his part. The contempt for the judge is aided more so by the bidders of his evil doings The Beadle, Bruce Bourquin and Asylum Keeper Neil Ward, two very unsavoury men.

Brian’s direction has each one of his cast members moving effortless round an amazing intricate set designed and built by Brian Gutherson and team. The girls from wardrobe have done a wonderful job with period style costumes which has put the finishing touches to this excellent meaty macabre drama.

Sweeney Todd can be seen at the Riverhead Theatre Louth from March 18-23,

Box office: 01507 600350.

Review by Susan Munro.